A month of violent attacks by gold miners against Yanomami communities without protection from the Brazilian state! – «If the gold miners dig everywhere, the forest’s rivers will be full of mud, motor oil, and trash. They wash their gold powder in the streams, mixing it with mercury – dirty and dangerous…» 

Barbara Crane Navarro

Yanomami men in the forest – photo: Gullane/Pedro J Marquez

A conflict erupted on April 27, when a group of Yanomami intercepted illegal gold miners who were going up the Rio Uraricoera in a speedboat loaded with fuel for their planes, helicopters and the industrial excavating machines they use for uprooting trees and moving soil. The Yanomami seized 990 liters of fuel. Then, another group of gold miners heading downriver to Boa Vista fired guns at the Yanomami in an attempt to intimidate the indigenous community who have been trying for years to prevent illegal gold miners from coming up the rivers into their territory.

On April 30th, Yanomami contacted government authorities to alert them regarding the episodes of violence in the Palimiú region. The region consists of 1,129 indigenous people in 15 villages. 

No effective action was taken by the state security forces.

Gold mining site in indigenous territory

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